tv John King USA CNN August 11, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
♪ it's fun to stay at the ymca >> reporter: jeanne moos cnn -- ♪ ymca >> reporter: -- new york. >> leave it to jeanne moos. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." for our international viewers, "world report" is next. in north america, "john king, usa" starts right now. good evening, everyone. tonight the president hits the road with the re-election campaign preview. >> unfortunately what we've seen in washington the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock, and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy. it's made things worse instead of better. >> but how risky is it for the man who promised in his last campaign to change washington to concede now it's even worse? plus, it's a big week in the republican race to pick the president's 2012 challenger.
with middle-class economic anxiety front and center, well, the early gop front runner might want to rethink this line -- governor romney is also exhibit "a" if you need any proof this week matters. saturday's iowa republican straw poll could knock a candidate or two from the race and so democratic activists are now turning up at gop events hoping to rattle the republicans who would be president. >> what are you going to do to strengthen social security, medicare and medicaid without cutting benefits? what are you dough going to do? >> you've had your chance. anything else you want to say? >> well, i'm going to see what you're going to say. >> you get to ask your question and i get to ask my answer. if you don't like my answer, you can vote for someone else. but now it's my turn to give my answer. >> there you go.
>> are you ready for an answer? i'm not going to raise taxes. that's my answer. i'm not going to raise taxes. if you want someone to raise taxes, you can vote for barack obama. >> if you think that's feisty, romney will face a different challenge. cnn has told that rick perry is accelerating his planning and will officially join the republican presidential field saturday. why does that matter? check this out, the new cnn/orc poll shows romney atop the pack with governor perry already running second. when david axelrod sits around and looks at the electoral maps and the strengths and weaknesses as you see them in the republican field, who worries you more, the guy from boston or the guy from austin? in a moment we'll give you the answer, plus the president's top political adviser's take on the job challenge and the republican field and the liberal criticism that the president isn't being tough enough on republicans. but, first, the politicens of the economy and the state of play in iowa, jessica yellin is here and in ames, iowa, two of
the country's finest political reporters, dan balz of "the washington post" and jeff zeleny, and i'm stuck indoors tonight, i'm jealous. dan, to you first, are we going to wake up sunday morning or monday morning and be missing a republican candidate? will somebody come in third or fourth that needed to come in first or second in the ames straw poll and be gone? >> well, it's certainly possible, john. as we all know, governor pawlenty of minnesota has a tremendous amount on the line saturday if he finishes really badly, i'm sure he's determined to stay in, but the question whether he'll really have the resources to be able to do it for any length of time. if he were to win the straw poll or spring a real supplies, you would have a new narrative about his candidacy, so there's a lot on the line for him, but there's a lot on the line for everybody over the next few days. >> a lot on the line for everybody over the next few days, jeff zeleny, and two people not on the straw poll ballot, two people that are not in any of the debates as yet,
rick perry and sarah palin. rick perry is getting in on saturday we're told and sarah palin is rolling through iowa. how much does that distract, potentially disrupt, the republicans who actually are running? >> i think it disrupts things somewhat. really for several weeks here. there's been a quiet movement and now a not-so-quiet movement amongst some supporters of rick perry in iowa, urging people to come to the straw poll on saturday and vote for him in a write-in ballot, so if he happens to do, you know, better than expected in a write-in, you know, better than even mitt romney, for example, i think that will be at least a mini story line out of here. but, boy, everyone is also wondering what is sarah palin up to exactly. is she coming in here to get into the spotlight, has she not ruled out running? people aren't sure, but i'm not sure that this week is going to bring as much -- is going to ask as many questions as it's going to raise really. dan is right, on sunday morning if the results aren't as good for governor pawlenty or perhaps
a couple others the field may contract at least slightly. >> as all this plays out, the president is getting more active. he's in michigan today. he's in iowa soon. he's delivering a message saying i'm trying, i'm trying, i'm trying and i need help from congress to create jobs and he's the candidate that promised to change washington and getting it to work he's telling people that one of the problems is this -- >> but what i want everybody to understand here, the problem is that we don't have answers. the problem is that folks are playing political games. >> i don't think there's any question, jess, that there are political games on both sides. the president means there are republicans getting in the way. i just have this question and maybe it's a lousy theory, but how hard is it, how steep is the hill for a guy whose message was elect me and i'll fix washington to be out in the country saying send me back to washington and i'll fix washington? >> reporter: i think it's incredibly steep not just because washington is so gridlocked but also because the economic picture is so grim and people do tend to vote with
their pocketbooks. but it's not in the view of the advisers to the president insurmountable and that's because in their view, john, he remains personally well liked, because if you look at, for example, a recent "washington post" poll, about 53% of americans are saying that they are still going to vote for him or open to considering voting for him. their argument, take it or leave it, their argument is that americans continue to keep an open mind to him because they think he's trying hard. and so among other reasons and they like him personally, so if you listen to him today, what you're hearing to him he's revealing a bit of this frustration that i'm hearing from them behind closed doors, now he's showing it in public view, which is both an honest frustration and also a message to independents that he's trying to break this gridlock, he's trying to be the guy he promised to be when he was here and he'll sell that message consistently on the campaign trail that he's been trying, they're stymieing him. >> and, dan and jeff, let's focus a bit on what jess just said there about the president saying to end the political
games in washington is clearly aimed directly at independents. i want to pull up the map because you guys are in one of the great states in american politics here. we pull up the map, iowa, el electoral college perperspectiv it's a small state, obama carries it in 2008, 2004, bush carries it, and 2000, al gore narrowly carries it. a new poll, a republican firm, shows the president's support among independents, dan balz, dropping in iowa. you are out on the ground there. how much of the frustration is directed at washington generally and how much of it has a specific focus, whether it's on the republicans or against the president? >> well, i think that it is very much focused on washington generally, but i don't think there's any way for the president to step outside of that as he's trying to do on the campaign trail. that was a lot easier four years ago when he was brand new and was an outsider. he is now washington. he is identified as the person who came to washington to change it. it's much more difficult to make
the case that politics is broken and one way or another, i haven't been able to fix it. so, he's got a much tougher message and nothing that we see so far in the numbers suggest that he's getting through to independents. now, we're obviously a long way away from the real engagement on this debate, but at this point, he's got a tremendous amount of work to do to shore up his support among those independents who were critical to his election in 2008. >> and, jeff, i want to show you new numbers in the polling that reinforces dan's important point. we ran a horse race, and it's 15 months to the presidential election so it doesn't tell you what will happen next november, but it can tell you about the state of play right now. president obama against perry, 51, obama. 46, perry. against bachmann, 51, obama, 45, bachma bachmann. against two candidates on the conservative end, the president gets a bare majority of 51. but against rudy giuliani who is not running but who you would call a moderate republican, giuliani, 51.
obama, 45. and against governor romney who i think many voters from last time would view as a center right candidate but not to the far right of a republican heat, essentially a dead heat, 49-48. you could say it's name i.d., everybody knows romney, everybody knows giuliani. but you could look at it and say if the republicans pick somebody more toward the center they do pretty well against the president. >> i think you're absolutely right, and that is the big question here. that's what we're going to see in a debate tonight at the straw poll really as we go forward in the next six months. we don't know what type of nominee this republican party is going to produce. as you travel out to town meetings and see candidates interacting with voters, a lot of the voters who are coming to see these candidates at this point are the people who are looking for the red meat, you know, just the -- the rabid intensity. we're not sure how much the -- the tea party strain that we saw in the midterm elections is going to play out in the presidential election or not. but mitt romney is -- has had this on-again, off-again
relationship as to how much he's going to compete in the iowa xaw suss. he knows if he's going to be the nominee, he would like to win iowa if he's going to defeat president obama, so i think you'll see him here a lot more. his challenge is not being drawn into the fray here, he was a bit in the debate over the he oppos. it's very volatile here, but for mitt romney it depends on how much he gets pulled toward the right should he become the nominee and that's still a big question. >> we'll watch it all play out, a big week in iowa, jessica yellin at the white house, dan balz and jeff zeleny, thank you. what goes up, must come down. stocks surged as a roller coaster week on cal strewall st takes another twist. and republican facing president obama are looking at their first big competition in iowa. lage.
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new citracal slow release... continuously releases calcium plus d for the efficient absorption my body needs. citracal. the iowa caucuses are still a ways off, when you see snow, you'll know the first official 2012 contest is close at hand, and yet it's entirely possible a vote in iowa this weekend will end the candidacy or two.
it's the ames straw poll where the candidates pay for the best space in the hall and then pay more if they like to bus supporters in from all across the state. what it is, is a big fund-raiser for the state republican party, who has the upper hand and who might be a former candidate not like after the votes are counted? and how will new moves about the republicans not on the straw poll ballot, sarah palin and rick perry change things? gentlemen, i want to bring up the straw poll ballot first for our viewers as we show it here out in ames. we know on the ballot is congresswoman bachmann, mr. cain, herman cain, that mccotter, and ron paul is well known, governor pawlenty from minnesota, senator santorum from pennsylvania, former gingrich is on the ballot, governor huntsman makes his appearance on the ballot. and to you first, i know you
have to be a diplomat, but governor pawlenty from neighboring minnesota, he's put a lot into the state of iowa, if he comes in third or fourth, is he still in this race? >> well, you know, that will be a decision, you know, that the various campaigns will have to make seeing where they place on saturday evening. but what i can tell you is that he's got a very robust organization that he's put in place here with an infrastructure that will deliver those pawlenty votes that they have around the state, but, you know, i'm a sports guy, so that's why they play the game. we'll find out on saturday how the candidates fare. >> that is why they play the game, and it's a fun game you play in iowa with the straw poll and the caucuses. and mitt romney has an in and out relationship with the state of iowa. he's been playing down especially the significance of the straw poll saying that, sure, he'll be around, but will he invest a lot in the caucuses, what is your sense? we do know a lot of romney supporters in the state, i've gotten a phone call saying it would help us out if you come to ames. is he all-in, or is he being
cute here? >> i think his national strategy is to try to play more national this time and not as much in iowa. i was a big supporter of his in 2007 and one of the reasons i'm uncommitted to this point is that they're not playing aggressively in iowa as i would like. so, i'm puzzled also exactly what the strategy is. i told him what i think it should be, but i'm not quite sure what it. >> okay. as two guys who are invested in iowa, i want to ask you first about this, governor rick perry, he's not on the straw poll ballot, although people could write him in. he will declare on saturday in south carolina, he's going to fly to new hampshire and iowa, mr. chairman to you first, in terms of the buzz, you've heard it in past cycles, people say, oh, this is the field, we want somebody new. compared to, say, around the buzz to fred thompson in 2008, what is it around rick perry now? >> i think we recognize it by adding a write-in, it's the first time we've added a write-in policy, and it speaks
to the fluid and unsettled nature of the field currently and there are activists around the state that are encouraging a rick perry write-in, but we look forward to seeing him in waterloo on sunday. and just like anybody who comes to the iowa caucuses, to be successful, you need to be on the ground here looking iowans in the eye and giving them a chance to ask you a tough question, so i know from iowa republicans i talk to, that's the expectation when they see rick perry here, just like everybody else, he'll have to go through the process. >> he won't be participating in the straw poll, but he's getting geared up and giving every indication he'll play hard for the caucuses. i want you to listen to an interview from wmur, our new hampshire affiliate, he thinks he's as good or probably better in his view than the rest of these guys and congresswoman. >> i happen to think that i'm as qualified or better qualified than anyone in the field to not only make that claim, but to lay out that vision and then lay out those principles that have worked truly well in texas. we've created more jobs than any other state in the nation, as a
matter of fact, in the last two years we've created almost half of all the jobs created in perk. >> any chance, that if your last candidate, mr. romney, doesn't hit the accelerator in iowa, you could end up with governor perry? >> well, i think it's possible. i mean, i'm very excited about the entire field we have. i think we're blees pleased tha have such a wide array of choices. i fully expect to be enthusiastic about somebody. and i could probably take a very good case for almost all of them. certainly governor perry is somebody who i will look forward to getting to know. >> i want to ask you both about governor palin. she's going to come to the state there. she's not on the straw poll ballot. many us for a long time have assumed governor palin is not running. let me close this one down and bring this one up. it works a little better this way if you do it right. i'm showing our viewers a poll for standing among republican voters and how many republicans what percentage want her to be the nominee. you see since the 2008 campaign it's gone up and peaked up, 12% now of republicans nationally want governor palin to be their nomin
nominee. that's down from 32% just after the 2008 campaign. mr. chairman, is it fine that she's coming out this week or if she's not a candidate, should she stay out and let the others get the attention? >> well, the iowa -- the iowa state fair's a great place, so, you know, i'm sure she's heard the rumors that it's the place to be here in iowa, so we welcome her there. but i think if she is serious about taking steps to run for president, she'll be here over labor day weekend, she needs to do the things proven what you need to do to be successful in the iowa caucuses which is get here and let the voters ask tough questions. this isn't the type of process where you can give speeches to thousands or you can, you know, be behind 30-second ads or even facebook posts. you need to be on the ground letting iowans look you in the eye and kick the tires and i think if you do that then, you know, you have the potential to see the numbers move that you cited. >> does it bother you that she's coming in, she says she'll decide eventually, but in a week that so important to so many of other candidates, does it bother
you that she's coming in? because as you know, she's pretty good at stealing the spotlight. >> no, i'm happy she's coming. i hope she comes back and often. more of the possible candidates, enthusiastic people, it's good for the state. we welcome them all. >> welcome them all. two good diplomats in iowa tonight, appreciate your time. >> it's an iowa night. >> i'm the former chairman, too. >> i'm sure one of you will be secretary of state if a republican wins the next election. gentlemen, appreciate your time tonight. you can check the 401(k) tonight. it will look better than last night. there's a prominent democrat keeping a close eye on the republicans in iowa. 2012 strategist, david axelrod right here with his take on the gop and the jobs debate. o of tht are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada,
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welcome back. here's the latest news you need to know right now. another case of whiplash a wall street. the dow industrials closed up 423 points gaining back most of yesterday's 520-point loss. reuters reporting european market regulators just announced that france, italy, spain, and belgium will ban the short selling of stocks tomorrow. more than 1,000 people have been arrested in the british riots. four nights of rioting caused at least $161 million in damage. amnesty international is demanding that nato investigate whether a monday strike on moammar gadhafi's forces killed 85 libyan civilians including children. nato says it has no evidence of
civilian casualties at this point. when we come back, it's not just the republicans in iowa, the president's top strategist is there, david axelrod joins us about the republican field and the president's re-election challenge. ♪ [ country ] [ man ] ♪ gone, like my last paycheck ♪ gone, gone away ♪ gone, like my landlord's smile ♪ ♪ gone, gone away ♪ my baby's gone away with dedicated claims specialists... and around-the-clock service, travelers can help make things better quicker. will your auto and home insurer... be there when you need them most? for an agent or quote, call 800-my-coverage... or visit travelers.com.
most will participate in a big straw poll, republicans, though, don't have the state to themselves. there with a watchful eye on them is the man directing the president's re-election campaign, david axelrod. we spoke just a short time ago. david axelrod, i want to start with some complaints, not from the right, i know you're in iowa watching the republicans, but from the left, the liberals are complaining that why isn't the president more tough and more aggressive with the republicans. i want you to listen to the president on the road today complaining about gridlock in washington, because this is one of the things that makes some of his friends on the left mad. listen -- >> the only thing preventing the bill from being passed is the refusal of some folks in congress to put country ahead of party. there's some in congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see america win. >> as you know, there are a lot of democrats who say why won't he say republicans? why does he say some in congress? >> well, i think he's gone -- he's gone after the republicans
in congress quite a bit, and particularly during this last period. you know, i heard him and you heard him say that a lot. and there's absolutely no doubt that there were republicans, including some of these presidential candidates, who we we're going to hear from tonight, who are actually counseling that the united states of america default on its debt and walk away from its obligations because they thought it would be -- because they wanted to score political points with their -- the base of their parties. so, i don't think anybody's confused about -- about the reference when he -- when he makes it. >> you make that case, and you make it strongly, and i'm sure you and the president will continue to make it through the campaign. let me ask you as a veteran strategist, a guy who knows how to frame campaigns, is there some risks, facts or not, the president being out there saying the problem in washington is gridlock when he campaigned in the first campaign promising to make it different, promising he could end it? >> you know, nobody can accuse the president of not trying to
forge a bipartisan agreement. nobody can accuse him of not trying to find compromise. in fact, some on the -- on the left of our party have complained because they feel that he has tried too hard to do that. the resistance has not come from them, however, the resistance has come from the republican leaders in congress, and that's been their strategy. and now that whole attitude has infected the republican presidential race. they're all speaking in those same terms, that, you know, we should be absolutist, that we should take the most extreme positions, and we should not yield and we should not compromise. well, that's not the way democracy works, and it's not the way we're going to move this country forward. >> i want to get so tom of those candidates in a minute but i want to focus on the broad challenge for the president, of course, and that's the economy. he's out in michigan campaigning, he's going to be across the midwest in the next few days campaigning trying to make his case. how is obama handling the economy? that's the question in our new poll this week.
34% of americans, essentially one-third of americans approve, 64% disapprove, david axelrod. how are things going in country today we asked? 24% say, well, 75% say badly. again, as a veteran political strategist, you know trying to re-elect an incumbent when one-third, one-third approve of how he's handling the economy, and three-fourths think he's heading in the wrong direction. that's a steep hill to get an incumbent re-elected. >> the question they'll ask themselves going into the polling booth is not just about president obama but also about the path that the other side wants to take. and do they believe that tax cuts for the wealthy and tax loopholes for big corporations should be prized more than education, prized more than the research and development that creates jobs and the innovation sector, prized more than clean energy jobs, prized more than rebuilding our roads and bridges so we can put people to work and improve our country, prized more than social security and medicare. those are the kinds of issues
that are going to be on the ballot in 2012. and i absolutely believe that the president's vision is one that is rooted in our values and it's one that most americans support, and we're going to win the election. >> that is the choice you hope to frame in the next election. as you know, many republicans will try to make it a referendum, they will say this president hasn't kept his promises. one thing the president has promised repeatedly, we went back through the last 2 1/2 years is to shift his focus and to pivot to almost a singular focus on one issue, one word. let's listen -- >> my bottom line is to make sure that we are saving or creating 4 million jobs. this is my administration's overriding focus, having brought the economy back from the brink, the question is, how are we going to make sure that people are getting back to work. job creation will be our number one focus in 2010. my number one focus is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and we are creating jobs.
>> i'm not naive, david axelrod. i covered the building for 8 1/2 years. i've watched democrats as president, republicans as president, and things come up when you're the president of the united states and the leader of the free world, but, again, in a campaign environment which you know full well, how does the president make the case that i was not distracted by this, i was not distracted by this, i've kept my pledge to focus on issue number one? >> well, first of all, john, let's -- let's stipulate the fact that there's 15 months to go here and the president's goal right now should not be how to -- how to approach the electorate, the president's goal should be how do we fight every day to get additional steps to move this economy forward. we were losing 750,000 jobs a month when he became president, we've had 17 straight months of job growth, but it's not nearly enough. how do we accelerate that process? how do we rebuild middle-class economic security? he's got a series of things that he wants the congress to act on and act on quickly, from
extending the payroll tax cuts, to passing trade treaties to level the playing field so we can sell our products overseas to reforming these patent laws so small businesses, entrepreneurs, inventors can get their products to market. there's a three-year backlog right now. to passing a new roads program so we can put people back to work rebuilding this country, and the infrastructure program. there are a lots of things that we can do and we can do right now to move this country forward, to accelerate the economy, and to create more jobs, and the question is, are we going to play politics for the next 15 months, or are we going to get down to work. and his hope and his challenge to the congress when they return is to get down to work and do the things that are necessary to move this economy forward. >> you mention the time between now and the election and i hope it is well spent, but the president clearly knows this argument is coming. governor romney says in a new video, obama isn't working.
republicans have been critical of his record on economy and jobs in recent days and the republicans are well aware this is coming. listen to the president back home at a fund-raiser wednesday night -- >> when i said change we can believe in, i didn't say change we can believe in tomorrow. not change we can believe in next week. we knew this was going to take time. because we've got this big, messy, tough democracy. >> we've got this big, messy, tough democracy won't fit on a bumper sticker. how does it work in 2012? what is it, change takes time? keep the change? how do you frame it, david? >> i think the president has a very clear vision of how we recover from this recession and restore the -- the economic security of the middle-class, and those things are related. and that's what this fight is going to be about. it's not going to be about bumper stickers, it's going to be about real lives and about how we lift our economy in a way that's fair, that gives people broad opportunity, that lets people live the lives they want
to live. that's the debate people are looking for. >> we learned today that governor perry of texas is definitely in the race. he's going to announce on saturday. governor romney at the moment is perceived as the front-runner. your campaign has spent a little bit of time focusing on him. when david axelrod sits around and looks at the map and sees the strengths and weaknesses as you see them in the republican field. who worries you more, the guy from boston or the guy from austin? >> well, john, i can't answer that question for one simple reason, i haven't seen the candidates out there. the one thing having watched my candidate campaign two years for president, these campaigns are very revealing. people find out exactly who you are. they test you. they test your ideas. just today at the state fair, governor romney had a curious exchange with someone there in which he kind of bellicosely said corporations are people, too, when the man was asking why he would value tax cuts for corporations more than
strengthening social security and medicare. and, you know, that was a revealing moment. i don't know how rick perry's going to be as a candidate for president. nobody really does. so, let's let this campaign play out and see how these candidates present themselves, and i think we'll know more down the line. >> i want to ask you about something in our new poll out today. we ran horse race numbers, a lot of the republicans are running for the president up against president obama, you're right, it's a long way off but it does tell us a bit how people think right now. if you look at the president running against governor perry, the president 56%. governor perry 46%. against bachmann, the president gets 51%. the congress woman gets 45%. those are two candidates, perry and bachmann, i would say are on the right of the republican field. if you look at one candidate and one potential candidate, we don't think will run, but maybe will run, who are more center/right, giuliani, 51%. obama, 45%. obama, 49%. romney, 48%. so, if you take candidates or
prospective candidates more to the middle, center/right but more to the middle, they tend to do better against the president which tells me your biggest problem in this campaign is going to be the middle. >> here's the problem with your reasoning, john, first of all, perry and bachmann aren't nearly as well known as giuliani and romney, and that obviously gives giuliani and romney an advantage in that test. but the bigger flaw in your reasoning is you assume there is a center/right in the republican party anymore, and the fact is that mitt romney has made it very clear that he's willing to throw in with the tea party crowd and the most strident voices in his party. he did it again today when he was talking about taxes and corporations are people, too, and so, you know, i don't think -- i think the center -- the center of the republican party has collapsed. and what you have are a bunch of folks coming out of that tea party, the most strident group in the republican party, and a bunchch of guy of guying knock
door asking to get in. and for that reason i don't know how much of a conclusion i'd draw from your analysis. >> david axelrod, looking forward to the fight. appreciate your time today from ames, iowa. "anderson cooper 360" coming up at the top of the hour, after three days in africa, he's in abu dhabi in the united arab emirat emirates, joining us with a preview, what do you got? >> reporter: the latest in somalia, the crisis escalating, the u.s. said it will donate even more money than they've given so far, but still a lot more money is needed. a lot more aid is needed. not enough in the pipeline, as you know. the world food program saying they'll run out of food in three weeks. we've got more, john, tonight on the breaking news, the new republican presidential contender, governor rick perry said this is what i'm supposed to be doing when i run for the white house, we'll talk about how it will affect front-runner mitt romney and for that matter president obama. and keeping them honest, is mitt
romney trying to have it both ways with the budget deficit and taxes, he's on board with the gop plan of cutting the federal deft sit without raising taxes, and we checked his record and his administration highlighted state tax increases to try to get a debt upgrade from s&p. we're keeping them honest. and another american missing in aruba, robyn gardner is her name, and police have a suspect in custody. we'll have a live report. and tonight's "ridiculous" is back at the top of the hour, that and more at the top of the hour. >> thank you, anderson. we'll see you in a few minutes. when we come back, syria, why is the united states hesitating to say "assad must go."
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more evidence there of the crackdown in syria. that is a youtube video posted. that's damascus, a small crowd of demonstrators and you hear the gunfire and you see the security forces come into the scene. the crackdown continuing for months and the big debate in washington over when the obama administration should say president assad of syria must go. we told you the other night the administration was nearing that point, actually had made a decision, but there's still a bit of a tug-of-war about when to make the announcement. the conversation with the senior fellow from the hoover institution and nick burns the former undersecretary of state and the former u.n. ambassador to nato. gentlemen, i want to start first with the debate, the divide in the administration, whether to flat-out use the term assad must go. i was told earlier in the week
the administering was prepared to do that, but now i'm told there's a bit of a tug-of-war about whether it makes sense for the united states to do that now. among those saying perhaps best that we wait a bit is the secretary of state. listen to this, though, where he comes close -- >> i think we've been very clear in what we have said about his loss of legitimacy. i think we were among the very first to say it, but it's important that it's not just the american voice. and we want to make sure that those voices are coming from around the world. >> nick burns, you've been involved in these kinds of debates and conversations while in government. we want to make clear it's not just the american voices. why does the secretary of state think that's important before she or president obama goes out and says assad must go? >> you know, john, i think this argument is really heating up in washington. there are some who believe that if the united states openly calls for the ouster of the assad regime, it will embolden the regime, give them the excuse saying the united states is behind the protests.
of course, that's nonsense. everyone knows it's not true. the administration obviously wants to see other countries take this step along with them, but, you know, the voice of the united states is a very strong one. and if the -- if the obama administration can get behind this state unequivocally that assad should leave power, i think it will have a dynamic impact on the european allies. you're already seeing turkey distance itself from the assad regime and you're seeing arab countries, saudi arabia, kuwait, bahrain, say quite critical things this week. so, i think it's time for the administration to make this move. >> you have long argued it's time if not past time. what do you make of this debate about whether the united states should act alone or as, nick points out, that's the crux of it, wait for the europeans, wait for the turks? >> well, we're in the era of leading from behind. this is now unfortunately the obama foreign policy, and one says it sadly. one doesn't enjoy saying this about one's own country and one's own government. we have no choice but to make this statement.
the world is waiting for this statement. and surely we know that when we say that assad must go, it doesn't mean he's going to pack his bags and go look for a place that would have him, but it will alter the moral and strategic landscape, it will tell the syrians they're not alone, it will tell the merchants in damascus who have stood by while hama has suffered, it's time now to begin to think about a new future for syria beyond the assad dynasty. it will matter greatly. it will matter for our own reputation, and it will matter for our own good name. 2,000 people have been skilled and we've waited way too long. >> nick, we've seen the saudis speak out and condemn what they call the killing machine. the president of the united states today had a conversation with the prime minister of turkey, aexplain why that may b key going forward? >> the prime minister of turkey has had a close relationship with bashar al assad for quite some time, you saw the turkish foreign minister two days ago in
damascus a rather unsuccessful meeting and the statement released by the turkish and the american governments, said the turks were not willing to call for the ouster of assad himself. i think it's time for the united states to use the pressure that we do have and the credibility we do have to begin moving the turks. and an early announcement by the united states i think would do that. this situation is trending away from assad. it's now in its fifth month. he has used an extraordinary level of brutal force against dictators, more than 2,000 as the professor has said, 2,000 innocent people have been killed. it really is time in my judgment for the united states to make this decision, to be very clear and unequivocal about the fact that assad has to step down. >> and fuoard, in an interview with cbs, the secretary of state was candid, he said we announced sanctions, we talked about those the other day, but she said it will really only matter, in her
words to sanction the oil and gas energy, meaning the your e n europeans who buy oil and energy from syria, so why is this important? >> we know, for example, that during the bosnia horrors sanct? >> we know, for example, during the hosni yeah horrors, they tried to take the lead on libya, it hasn't really worked out very well. i they we should honor or own and that would return to assad to step down. you call on him to step down. and encourage the europeans to
come out and do what must be done. >> one of the things that we've been watching for months is whether they would be any cracks in the regime. we've been watching that question in syria. on the front page of the new york times, an article in which he says he's beginning to see come crashes. they are starting to be divided. you have people in the government really getting frustrated with assad and his security circle. it's like watching a dysfunctional marriage. do you believe a mafia regime should crumble from the inside? >> for 40 years they have ruled with an iron fist. you haven't seen this type of dissension within the syrian government. you have a resignation of the defense minister. and you have the president and very wealthy cousin of bashar al assad. you begin to see it fray around the edges the way that you saw
gadhafi fray. it is very significant to see these voices of descent within the syrian government. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you. roving mobs in the streets, attacking strangers. we're not talking about the london riots. it's happening right here in the united states. we'll tell you. we'll show you where, next. here at quicken loans, we take special pride in servicing clients that serve our country. my name is marjorie reyes. i'm a chief warrant officer. i am very grateful and appreciative that quicken loans can offer service members va loans. it was very important for me to be able to close and refinance my home quickly. i wanted to lower my mortgage payment. quicken loans guided me through every step of the process. the whole experience was amazing!
imagine this, happening in your community, roving mobs in the street, attacking, assaulting, and terrorizing passers by. violence and mayhem caused by groups called flash mobs. is this kind of behavior to blame on society, unemployment, or ourselves, parents, and our teenagers. mike he will nutter addressed his city's young people this thursday. >> you damage yourself, you damage another person, you damage your peers and your own race. >> with us is the chief commissioner of fphiladelphia fld. on july 29th you have teens weet beating up random strangers. what is this flash mob about in what is the problem? >> it's kind of complicated in terms of exactly what they are about. but they communicate through
social media and text messaging and can start at any given moment. they have been singling out people and assaulting them and that's the problem. >> you say using social media. that makes it hard for you to stop. how do you track it? >> well, we do the best we can to try to track it. fortunately we have had parents and even some young people call us and tell us when these things are about to develop. but we don't always get that message. that's what happened a couple of weeks ago. we were unaware that these mobs were going to form. >> if you listen to the mayor there on the pull prit a. pretty strong message, a stern message to african-american youth. is this just a problem in the african-american community or widespread? >> so far it's been limited to the african-american community as far as the mobs themselves go. but they have been singling out people in the inner city district. the mayor i mposed a curfew for
people 17 years and younger. >> is that helping you and how do you sustain that something at a time when city and local budgets is at a strain. >> it does mean having a higher police presence. we're going to have an awful lot of cops down in center city but we have to do what we have to do. we simply cannot allow this to continue. so whatever the cost is, we just have to bear it and do what we need to do in order to keep the public safe. >> and the question people ask is why is this happening. some people point to the fact that we have the 39% unemployment rate among those age 16 to 19 in the city of philadelphia. is this to blame on a bad economy? >> i don't really think so, unemployment, education, not excuses to go out and randomly target people and beat them up. there's no excuse for it, it's
stupid, ignorant, and i can't find any other words to describe it. >> you used tough words there and they are necessary words, chief. i agree with you. i want you to listen with the mayor again. first the mayor. >> we cannot raise people's children. you want to have children, you have to take care of them. we can help you, provide services, support, all kinds of stuff. but we are not going to tolerate this kind of senseless, stupid, ignorant, violent acts. even ep sod i cannily as they may occur in the city. >> that's the mayor speaking. you see riot in londoning in recent days. a lot of tragic, sensible beatings. listen to the prime minister of the united kingdom. >> i said before that there is a major problem in our society with children growing up, not knowing the difference between right and wrong. this is not about poverty. it's about culture. >> you see a parallel, sir? >> well, i mean, in t